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Not only about big investment – A guide to bootstrapping a travel startup

This article contains inarguably stellar advice. But while reading, one angle to play devil’s advocate occurred to me pertaining to point #3:

If you don’t just build, you may not have the same opportunity to really get a feel for what doesn’t work, why it doesn’t work, and find the right pivot into something that does, with those early mistakes acting as a potentially valuable guide going forward. This can be especially valuable and arguably even required learning if it’s your first business. Failing, as long as you really learn something, can be a worthy experience. This mentality is best-tolerated and even encouraged in Silicon Valley.

Proper market research is always prudent, but any sort of anecdotal evidence (e.g. a verbal commitment vs someone actually shelling out cash for your product) may only go so far. At least in some cases, a robust prototype at a minimum may be needed to get conversations with and attention from the people with whom you hope to do business, much less get them to open their wallet or make a real commitment. This of course depends on the level of your connections and perhaps cunning in your chosen area of the market. What Stephen did with RezGo to build for a customer he already secured is certainly a near-perfect scenario, and kudos to him for that.

Another common excuse for entrepreneurs who build before doing their homework is that they believe are creating something the world didn’t know it needed. And that may indeed be the case. But, as implied, it’s better to raise capital in that scenario than try to bootstrap because those types of successes are exceptions to the rule.

I am not advocating that anyone build blindly – just exploring that side of it. Ignore any of the advice in this article at your own peril!